Remember the tree I said I'd pray over? I never did pray over it, and it died. So I went to Lowe's and got two more (because another one died too). The two new trees sat out on my sidewalk for at least a week before I took them to the back patio, where they sat for a few more days, begging to be planted. I was trying to work up the motivation to do it, but I had just planted 12 hostas and about 8 other little shrubs, I was really feeling sorry for myself and for all the ditch diggers in the world.
On a seemingly un-related subject, I facebooked my neighbor the other day to find out if one of her 4 sons would like to come play with my dog for a little bit, he's really been missing my step-son, terribly. I told her that I'd pay them with popsicles and she said one, or all, of them would be happy to come over to take him for a walk. So, after school yesterday, the boys came over, grabbed up little Jackson, got their popsicle payment, and headed down the street. Quite awhile later (much more than my popsicles' worth), they came bounding back into the house, through the kitchen (where Jackson stopped for a drink and I re-supplied them with popsicles) and on out the back door. One by one, almost all of the 10 boys in our neighborhood were knocking on my door hoping to join the party that was quickly developing in the backyard. The boys sat around, ran around, jumped around, and goofed around. Eventually though, as typical boys, they spied my shovel leaned up against the back of the house... suddenly 7 to 10 boys had the urge to dig! I sensed disaster and immediately put a damper on that idea.
Then I realized what a great opportunity I had just been given! These boys could dig up my dead trees, it isn't like the trees could be more dead, and they could help me plant my new trees! Oh the fun they had! Taking turns digging, reluctantly because each boy was sure that he was the greatest digger and should really be the one digging the whole hole, the two trees were removed from the ground and replaced with bright, lively, and green trees! I told them about making sure the trees were in the ground as deep as they needed to be, and we talked about tamping the dirt around the base of the tress. They loved getting the wet dirt and grime on their hands, and I loved getting my trees planted!
After the digging and planting, the boys talked about how last Summer we planted watermelon and, although they didn't get big enough to have the watermelon party we'd hoped for, we still were able to watch the plants grow from seedlings. They assured me that they would love to be here when the time comes to plant my vegetable garden and that when my step-son returns we should have another water hose party with ice cream sandwiches (like last Summer). It was in that moment that I realized something. All the time I put into making great memories for my step-son, like gardening (the watermelon plant was his own choosing), making a camp fire with the friends and neighbor boys, having water fights, supplying ice cream sandwiches for all his friends (once or twice a Summer), or gathering around the kitchen table to play Uno, all this had built wonderful childhood memories for every boy in our neighborhood. Through my little window I saw a really big picture, an amazing and beautiful picture.